The time has come: some of the most important Android smartphones of the year are here. The Galaxy S23 series is officially a reality now that Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy S23 Ultra, S23+ and standard S23.
But what exactly does the flagship model have to offer you and what are its pluses and minuses? Mark secretly went hands-on with the Android smartphone for a week already and gives you the answers to your questions.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: 5 things you want to know before purchase
The Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+ discusses the editors in this week’s Freakin’ Nerds podcast. Rumor even has it that the episode comes a day earlier than usual, but shut up!
What I want to talk about today is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. I’ve had the pleasure of trying it out for a week now and these are, as far as I’m concerned, five things you need to know about this spec-bump.
Because in terms of design. Well…
The whole bunch (Image: Mark Hofman / WANT)
#1 Display is impressive, but beware
Samsung’s Ultra smartphones always symbolize the best the South Korean company has to offer:
– The most impressive performance
– The largest battery and charging capabilities
– The most impressive camera system
– And simply the best and most beautiful display.
And that display is what I would like to talk about for a moment. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra features a 6.8-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. Really the pain in my fingers at the moment cannot be described. It also features 120Hz refresh rate, Vision Boost and 240Hz Touch Sampling.
Sounds super impressive, but it simply means you will be blown away by the quality of this display. It’s fast, bright and displays incredibly beautiful colors. I can’t say otherwise, that in my opinion this is the most beautiful display I have seen in a smartphone to date.
Delightful screen (Image: Mark Hofman / WANT)
It’s also nice that Samsung has used Gorilla Glass 8 to give the device extra good protection against idiotic moments when you let the smartphone fall to the ground. You would think, because to achieve this, glass has to be made softer (yes, really).
This results in more resistance to cracks, but sensitivity to scratches. After a week, the smartphone is completely full, which is anything but advantageous. I would even call it a disgrace.
Good to know: if you buy a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, make sure you really slap a screen protector on it. Otherwise, you will regret it.
#2 The Samsung Galaxy S23 has a stylus
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has one of those hip little pens. The S Pen, as the stylus is called, obviously comes from the Note series and first appeared in the S series last year. You can easily take notes with it, quickly convert written text into typed text AND remotely control your Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Keep in mind that this really does have to be an addition that you have to like. Personally, I find that outside of a few tests, I hardly use the S Pen. Removing the pen, selecting the function and plugging it back in is just a bit more work for me than simply typing. But maybe I’m old-fashioned … or just newfangled ….
What is ideal, though, is that as soon as you grab the pen when the Galaxy S23 Ultra is locked, it immediately opens a notepad of sorts. For when you want to write something down very quickly. That’s handy.
Ultra (Image: Mark Hofman / WANT)
#3 Optimized chip, just like the iPhone
I poop my pants a little, because bringing in the iPhone in an Android review usually causes an angry mob at the door with torches and pitchforks. Still, it should.
What Apple has done well with the iPhone for years is that it uses an optimized proprietary chip. Samsung also did this in Europe with the Exynos chip, but it actually quickly became clear that, unlike Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, this was a misstep.
So this year, the Dutch models of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra also feature a Qualcomm chip. And with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 not just any old one. Indeed, Samsung had Qualcomm optimize the chip to ensure that it works as efficiently and quickly as possible.
You notice that in the performance while playing Mobile Games which is 40% faster, for example. Just like the AI performance. Well, and then the length of your battery life also goes up by 20%.
An optimized chip is key and Samsung has finally acknowledged that Qualcomm, with its For Galaxy line, really is a lot better at this than Samsung itself anyway.
Ultra in all areas (Image: Mark Hofman / WANT)
#4 The Samsung Galaxy S23 is camera heaven
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra can truly be called camera heaven, if only because of its 200-megapixel Adaptive Pixel sensor, which uses pixel binning to make image processing just that little bit better. Long story short: pipe good pictures in both light and dark environments.
According to Samsung, you shoot RAW images DSLR-style, but as far as I’m concerned, the latter remains lord and master. Then again, that standard can’t zoom 100 times with Space Zoom. I don’t know what you need it for, but you can do it!
But joking aside, Samsung is once again taking its camera system to the next level this year. It has an improved optical image stabilizer, films better in 8K at 30 frames per second, uses AI to better frame objects and brings 360-degree audio recording for proper sound.
Add to that the updated selfie camera with Super HDR and 60 frames per second capabilities and I think you won’t be very dissatisfied. It’s certainly okay for this price, but then again: you really do have something.
Nice lens or five (Image: Mark Hofman / WANT)
#5 hefty chunk of money for a phone
Well, and it’s about that price that we really need to talk: after all, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is anything but cheap. In fact: do you already find the iPhone 14 Pro of at least 1,329 euros expensive? Then just scare the proverbial shit out of yourself.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, with 8GB of working memory and 256GB of storage capacity, will cost you 1,399 euros. Fancy expanding? You can do that with 12GB of working memory and 512GB and 1TB of storage capacity.